Aspiring artists have long migrated outward to the coasts: Would-be writers look for inspiration in the concrete jungle of the Big Apple, while up-and-coming actors or musicians give it a go in Hollywood. But the ever-increasing cost of living in coastal cities can make them a poor choice for creative professionals. So where should artists relocate to in order to find their next break?
Personal finance website Smartasset set out to answer that question by comparing the cost of living in 176 major U.S. cities to the concentration of creative workers in those cities. They considered professionals from fields like acting, writing, fine arts, music, graphic design, and even some tangential careers like "Sports and Related Workers." They found that the coasts aren't all they're cracked up to be: The top 10 included just one coastal city and it isn't New York or L.A.—it's Durham, N.C.
New Orleans came out on top, with a cost of living close to the national average (98.4 percent) and 161 creative professionals per every 10,000 workers. And they're not all jazz musicians, either. In fact, actors and actresses comprised the largest group of artists in NOLA with 1900 fulltime thespians. The rest of the top ten is rounded out with a collection of Southern and Midwestern cities. Check out the full chart: